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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 13, 2015 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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♪ la la la la on this sunday night, gaining ground. a strong new challenge to donald trump. ted cruz within striking distance to take the lead in our latest national poll. while trump, again, defends his comments about muslims. extreme weather. tornadoes ripped through parts of texas, damaging dozens of homes, while a december heat wave in the eastern part of the country shattered more records. caught on camera in los angeles. the police shooting of a man with a gun, raising questions of excessive force and demands for a justice department investigation. and warm welcome for syrian refugees, as canada opens its doors and its arms to hundreds who have come to start a new life. "nightly news" begins
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now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is n brks krrc nightly news with kate snow. >> good evening. we are now 50 days from the first in the nation iowa caucuses. a notable shift in the republican field. ted cruz is gaining ground on donald trump, catching up to him nationally, and in a critical poll for iowa, the "des moines register" shows cruz leading trump by ten points in the state. the unspoken truce that seemed to keep trump from attacking cruz for all these months, that's over. with two days before the next republican debate, kristen welker breaks it all down. >> reporter: with ted cruz threatening to knock donald trump out of the top spot, the billionaire businessman again turned up the heat. >> i don't think he's qualified to be president. look at the way he's dealt with the senate, where he goes in there like a, frankly, a little bit of a main y
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-- maniac. >> reporter: ted cruz is put in striking distance of the front runner. trump gets 27% while ted cruz gets 22%. marco rubio comes in third at 15%. in iowa, cruz tops trump by ten points. trump who resisted attacking cruz, he's now letting loose. >> i'm more capable because i have a much better temperament. i get along with people much better than he does. >> reporter: cruz stayed off the sunday circuit, tweeting, thank you, in response to the iowa poll. both surveys provide a snapshot at how likely republican voters are reacting to trump's remarks last week. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shut down of musliming enteri ins enteri the united states. >> reporter: controversial comments he defended again today. >> we have a problem. i'm not looking to be politically correct. i'm doing this to do the right thing. >> reporter: the new poll is an indication
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of just how fluid the race is. potentially giving rivals an opening. >> the most important thing a president will be is commander in chief. that requires having an understanding of the complex issues on foreign policy. i personally believe he continues to struggle to articulate that. >> reporter: for ben carson, who once topped the polls, dropping to fourth place. the low key candidate tried to down play his losses. >> you know, poll numbers go up and down. i wasn't excited when they were up. i'm not excited when they're down. >> reporter: with 50 days until the iowa caucuses, it's still anyone's game. >> we're seeing three candidates emerge trump, cruz and probably rubio. but i would expect a lot of movement between now and february 1st. >> tonight, trump and cruz got into a twitter war, a sign that tensions between them are escalating. the next big test, the gop debate on tuesday. for now, donald trump will still be center
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stage, flanked by carson and, for the first time, cruz, kate? >> kristen welker. eight days before the official start of winter, and we're talking as if it were summer. damaging tornadoes in texas and record warm in the eastern half of the country. people buying christmas trees in short sleeves. we have two reports on this. we begin with janet in texas. >> reporter: the aftermath of an angry storm. at least two tornadoes unleashing their fury on texas. >> for this to happen in december is extremely shocking. >> reporter: north of houston, cindy martin says she's lucky to have lived through it. >> i thought it picked my trailer up. it did and came down, and i couldn't get out of the door. i was hollering, help, help! >> reporter: with the roof ripped off, there is only a tarp between the rain and everything she owns. the sheer power of the tornado here in willis
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left this mobile home in shreds. fortunately, no one was inside at the time. rail cars blown off a bridge from powerful winds. lindale, east of dallas, a state of emergency, after as many as 50 homes were damaged there. residents say there was no warning. >> it was scary because what if we had been there and we would have been in the plan of the storm. >> reporter: trees and power lines down. the entire area, a mess. >> it's unusual to have december tornadoes. this isn't the time of year we ramp up and prepare for this type of thing. >> reporter: elsewhere, it's unusually warm. record temps in nearly two dozen states this weekend. skaters leaving behind their coats on the rock center rink in new york, and increasincrease ed sales of ice cream. >> we came to new york and it's incredibly warm. >> reporter: in chicago, the temperature sign is no mistake. the cherry blossoms in
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washington, d.c. seem confused. a rare december bloom. those who depend on seasonal weather, like a resort in maine, are desperate for cold and snow. >> it's got to be 55, i would say, in the sun anyway. it's like springtime skiing. hopefully it's not more much longer. >> reporter: ditching the winter wear, as it feels more like spring. across the country, an unseasonable season. janet shamlian, texas. how long will this weather last? we asked nbc meteorologist dylan dreyer. >> good evening, kate. we're still going to see another couple of days of these exceptionally warm temperatures. we have this huge ridge in the jet stream and the warm air from the south. we'll break more records into monday. we'll be running 15 to 25 degrees above normal. chicago is 19 degrees above average. up and down the east
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coast, we'll be running in the 60s, close to 70 in washington, d.c. into tuesday, we will start to notice temperatures drop off a bit, especially in chicago. by thursday, we're down to 40 degrees. but on the east coast, we're still looking for temperatures to remain in the lower 60s, maybe dropping down into the 50s for a brief period as we get to the end of the week. the reason we'll see temperatures cool off, it's all the cold front. as janet mentioned, we had severe storms through texas. that was caused by this front. it's a good thing that the storms are weakening out ahead of the front. we still have the possibility of some flash flooding and damaging winds, but the threat is not as seve severe. into monday night and tuesday morning, that's when we're going to see a few of the spotty shour tty showers along the east coast. >> thanks, dylan. a dramatic scene in portland, oregon. plumes of black smoke rising after a truck carrying fuel crashed on a roadway, killing the driver. the fuel apparently got underneath some of the parked train cars, causing a fire, and all that smoke. the cars were carrying asphalt and eight of
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them were damaged. once again, there are questions involving what led to the fatal police shooting of a suspect and whether the response was excessive. this time, it happened in los angeles yesterday when two l.a. county sheriff's deputies confronted a man carrying a gun. a bystander recorded it on video, and a warning here, the images are disturbing. we get more tonight from nbc's gadi schwartz. >> reporter: tense moments in los angeles. >> [ bleep ]. >> reporter: deputies open fire on a man with a gun. this cell phone video is extremely graphic. we paused it here. as the shooting continues, the man ideas at 28-year-old nicholas robertson tries to crawl away, as deputies fire 33 shots. it's unclear how many of the bullets struck robertson. overnight -- >> put your guns down. >> reporter: protests over the shooting after the father of
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three's family took to the streets. >> he was crawling on his knees and they kept shooting. why? >> reporter: today, the los angeles county sheriff's department, quick to tell their side of the story. providing pictures and video they say shows robertson with a .45 caliber handgun. >> weapon in hand, he was behaving era erratical erratically, in a bizarre fashion. >> reporter: shotted were reportedly fired before deputies arrived. robertson was said to ignore the police's commands. >> there were children in a car at a gas pump within three feet of him at the time. >> reporter: activists are calling for the justice department to get involved. >> no justice, no peace. >> reporter: while law enforcement is hopeful that sharing more information will calm potential unrest. gadi schwartz, nbc news, los angeles. overseas, a historic election in saudi arabia, where women were permitted
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to vote and run for political office for the first time. voters elected 20 women to local government seats. while they represent just 1% of about 2,100 seats up for grabs, that election is seen as a step forward in a country where women still cannot drive and face many other restrictions. after a week where donald trump's comments on banning muslims from entering this country have dominated headlines, in canada, it's a far different story. syrians, hundreds of them, have been welcomed there in recent days. we get more tonight from nbc's kelly ko cobiel cobiella. >> reporter: in canada this weekend, emotional reunions. and warm welcomes. >> you're safe at home now. >> reporter: more than 300 syrians arrived on canadian government planes as part of a fast track program to resettle refugees. >> it's enough to see them smiling and laughing. >> from last saturday i didn't sleep. i'm so excited.
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>> reporter: the country's newly elected prime minister, justin trudeau, led the welcoming committee. >> tonight matters. not just for canada, but for the world. >> reporter: the country got behind him with #welcome to canada trending. briana tweeted, my country is now your country. this picture was posted with the caption, this is canada. and a canadian choir singing a welcome song in arabic went viral. in syria today, dozens were killed in a damascus suburb. with no end in sight to the fighting, people are desperate to escape. last month, nearly 100,000 migrants and refugees reached europe. only to find fences and closed borders. but canada has opened its doors, pledging to resettle 25,000 syrian refugees by february. >> this is the room
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for my two nieces. >> reporter: sarah and her daughter christine raised $180,000 through loans and a second mortgage to sponsor 43 relatives. >> during the war, they all lost their jobs. they couldn't attend school anymore. they were stuck at home. living day by day, you know. i thank god nothing happened to them. >> reporter: the first arrived on friday, and more are on the way. kelly cobiella, nbc news, london. when "nightly news" continues, a tragic ripple effect of america's growing heroin epidemic. the effects on the smallest victims. i take pictures of sunrises, but with my back pain i couldn't sleep and get up in time. then i found aleve pm. aleve pm is the only one to combine a safe sleep aid plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. i'm back. aleve pm for a better am.
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correspondent, cynthia mcfadden. >> reporter: they are the most innocent victims of our country's opioid epidemic. it's hard to watch. for too long, we have looked away. >> 14% of all babies who are delivered at our hospital in the year 2014 were exposed to drugs. it's an astronomical number. >> reporter: nearly 30,000 a year in this country. >> it can be frustrating because you do everything and they're still uncomfortable. >> reporter: jacey inherited her mother's blue eyes and dependency on drugs. she was six months old when the state of florida said her mother mistakednly gave her a lethal dose of medication. >> people at home will say, this is a woman who killed her own child. >> yeah. >> what do you want them to understand? >> that i didn't purposely do anything to her. i love her so much.
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that things could have been prevented on my part, as well as if i would have had help. and i take responsibility, fnot putting the responsibility on anyone else. i made a mistake. >> reporter: frasier is spending 15 years in prison. >> sometimes when i wake up in the morning, i think that she's laying beside me. it takes me a while to realize it's my blanket balled up. it's not her. >> reporter: jayce's short life could have been saved if a law had been followed. hospitals are supposed to report newborns like jayce to protective services. the hospital did inform child protective services in south carolina, where the family lived. this notation was in her chart. home health rn visits will begin after discharge. but south carolina ignored federal law in favor of its less
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stringent state law. >> did anyone ever come ask snd see you when you got out of the hospital? >> no, ma'am. >> was there a safe baby plan when you left the hospital? >> have a nice life. >> nobody sat down with you and said, look, you're a drug addict. you're taking methadone. this baby is at risk. we need to have a plan? >> nope. >> reporter: jayce is far from alone. despite the federal law, reuters and nbc identified over 100 cases when mothers who used opioids's infants died after being sent home. >> federal legislation was passed 12 years ago, yet here we sit, ineffectively, it isn't being enforced. >> now, we have this epidemic, and the system is failing us at every level. it doesn't need to be that way. >> is there someone
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who could decrease and make this happen? >> yeah. the secretary of health and human services could say, we're going to look at this very closely and if you're not really doing the job, we're going to start withholding the money. >> you wish the law had been enforced? >> yes. i wish that somebody had paid attention. because i didn't just fall through the cracks. i fell through the grand canyon, okay? >> of course, little jayce and hundreds of babies are the ones who pay the ultimate price. the secretary of health and human secretaries declined our repeated request for an interview. kate? >> cynthia, an important report. thank you so much. when we come back, the return of a familiar face in political comedy, and what he had to say political comedy, and what he had to say political comedy, and what he had to say when a moment spontaneously turns romantic, why pause to take a pill? and why stop what you're doing to find a bathroom? cialis for daily use, is the only daily tablet
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well, it was only a matter of time. here in new york last night, will ferrell returned to a familiar role on "saturday night live," playing george w. bush, commenting on this volatile political season. >> this is an important day. i've made a big decision. i'm entering the race for president of the united states of america. [ applause ] the field of republicans out there is so messed up, i f figured, it makes you miss me, doesn't it? that's saying a lot. i've already got my campaign song. ready or not, here i come. you can't hide. gonna find you and make you love me. the holidays are all about family and tradition. for one family, it's
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meant a photograph with santa each and every year for half a century. it began in 1966, when the family from arizona sad their son pose with santa. then his siblings came along. the snapshots with santa continued, and continued, and continued. between now and christmas, they'll sit down with santa once again for the 50th time. mom, carolyn, says, if there's ever a fire, god forbid the photos would be the first thing she goes for. take take a look at this. fireworks in rio de janeiro as the city turned on its christmas tree made of metal. it weighs 350 tons. uses 2.5 million microlightbulbs. according to the guinness book of world records, it is the world's largest floating christmas tree. up next, why one school is devoting itself to 26 days of kindness. technology empowers us to achieve more.
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finally tonight, it'll be three years ago tomorrow since a gunman entered sandy hook elementary school in new town, connecticut, leaving 26 people dead. 20 of them children. not far from new town, another school is marking the anniversary and honoring those who died with kindness. 26 days of kindness. harry smith has our story. >> everyone all set? >> reporter: mary callahan had an assignment for her students at notre dame catholic high school in fairfield, connecticut. >> i'll give you 15 minutes. >> reporter: moments later, they begin writing. you can hear a pin drop. the task, send a
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letter to a teacher or a first responder in new town or elsewhere in the country. >> to first responders. >> dear new town police officer. >> i wanted them to know they were appreciated and their job was selfless. >> reporter: this idea, 26 days of kindness, honors the 20 children and 6 adults who lost their lives in the 2012 mass shooting at sandy hook elementary school in new town. manifested in acts big and small, like donating food and blankets to the homeless. an annual tradition at notre dame these past three years. >> it reminds us that human goodness and human kindness is an every day affair. >> reporter: for students here, it couldn't make more sense. >> we're not just remembering something bad that happened. we're trying to counter act the bad with some good. >> reporter: they've learned there is a world outside these walls crowded with cruelty. junior olivia says she believes change can begin with her and her peers. >> it starts small,
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like with a letter we wrote today, but it really grows. >> reporter: kindness has become a part of the curriculum. >> do the kids buy into this? >> they do. you can see it through their participation in the activities. i think if we can live like that every day beyond our 26 days, the world is going to be a better place. >> reporter: and it's sinking? >> you spread, like, one good idea, and it just becomes, like, disease, a good disease in a way. that's the greatest thing you could have. >> reporter: remember the old thing about, it's better to give than to receive? they still believe that here. harry smith, nbc news, fairfield, connecticut. >> every day, every day. that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. lester holt will be here tomorrow. i'm kate snow reporting from new york. i'll see you all this
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a broken hand won't keep j.j. watt off the field for sunday night football. his texans have won four of five. tonight they face the patriots in houston. the patriots were not only dominant to start their title defense, they were perfect. but now injuries and two straight losses have brought them back to the pack. the texans have climbed back


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